back to article Ever wanted to own a piece of the internet? Now you can: $1 for a whole gTLD... or $2.8m if you want a decent one

Anyone will be able to bid for a piece of the internet’s domain-name landscape this April – and for just $1 you could bag one of the more unpopular parts. If you can spare just a few more dollars, you could snap up .audio, .game, .photo, .tattoo or 19 other common words, and go into business selling domains ending in those dot …

  1. doublelayer Silver badge

    +$24K per year

    Before anyone considers bidding $1 on each of the ones available because why not, I looked at the ICANN pricing information. Annual maintenance fees for each GTLD are $24K US, not including prices for the infrastructure to run the thing. I can imagine why they're up for auction now.

    Here's hoping that most of these are not purchased and returned. And that we can kill most of the TLDs set up in the past decade. Less junk that only gets used for malicious sites.

    1. -tim
      Joke

      Re: +$24K per year

      The infrastructure to run some of these TLDs could consist of a dial up line and couple of Raspberry Pis and they wouldn't even need to be the newish ones.

  2. IGotOut Silver badge

    .hiv?

    Really?

    Can I put a request in for .covid19 .ebola and .sars in?

    Shheez. Money grabbing bastards.

    1. mark l 2 Silver badge

      Re: .hiv?

      Surely the use case for a HIV as a TLD is down to maybe a few medical research organisations, charities or HIV awareness groups, and it was always going to be a very limited uptake so why did it ever get green lighted for a new TLD?

      Unless of course HIV means something else in other languages other than English which would make it more desirable?

      1. 2+2=5 Silver badge

        Re: .hiv?

        There is also the chance that a vaccine for HIV will be developed and the whole raison d'être disappear

      2. katrinab Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: .hiv?

        Medical research organisations are are probably going to be .edu, .ac.uk or equivalent.

        Charities and HIV awareness groups: I guess The Terrence Higgins Trust is quite happy with their tht.org.uk domain.

        Besides, such organisations tend to focus on all sexual health matters or all virus type stuff rather than just HIV/AIDS.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: .hiv?

        Shirley the use case is to sell hosting under the has subdomain. We all have that one juvenile friend that would pony up a few bucks for a placeholder webpage at markI2.has.hiv.

      4. AVR

        Re: .hiv?

        As a slightly shorter form of 'hive' there might be a few interested in .hiv, but no guarantees there'd be enough to pay your dues to ICANN.

    2. TeeCee Gold badge
      Coat

      Re: .hiv?

      I guess it's being flogged off cheap 'cos it's not as catchy these days.

    3. MettaCrawler

      Re: .hiv?

      Drug companies that charge $5000 USD for 30 pills.

      1. katrinab Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: .hiv?

        That would be gilead.com

    4. Shadow Systems

      Re: .hiv?

      Surely a better GTLD would be .STD?

  3. IGotOut Silver badge

    Not the best example..

    "have a single encompassing domain:...... amazon.com,"

    Isn't Amazon the most high profile slanging match over the rights to own a TLD I.e. .amazon?

  4. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    Happy

    Thanks for the .spam update

    I'll keep an eye out from them and add the new ones to the mail server droplist. The majority of these TDLs go to spammers - this makes it much easier to block.

    1. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: Thanks for the .spam update

      Yeah, don't I know it? I have a personal .cymru and a .wales address, and the number of email filters which reject them is silly. Not only do I occasionally get emails bounced, but I also often come across "contact us" forms which won't let you enter any email address with more than four (sometimes more than three) letters in the TLD!

      M.

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Re: Thanks for the .spam update

        That's normal these days but would do not block real TDLs, I have never seen any spam from .cymru and .wales - and even if I did I would not block them. Diwrnod da!

  5. Dwarf Silver badge

    Greed

    Once again greed kills an interesting idea.

    If they set the price in a more sensible level, then I’d imagine that they would have had lot more uptake.

    How much does it really cost to host a DNS domain and do some basic admin on it ?

    Answers from any domain registrar that can do it for a couple of quid a year (and still make a modest profit)

    Just because something is a common name or popular term doesn’t mean you can screw the life out of it since something behind that has to pay for it and they will also be looking at the overall value too.

    1. chuBb. Silver badge

      Re: Greed

      Domain names peaked with nathan barley and trashbat.co.ck, after the cooke islands all other tlds are .co.ck

      gTLDs are just a bog standard pump and dump scam run by icann, as soon as it became apparent that the infrastructure was being gobbled up with speculative registrations and brand protection, all that was left was the inevitable spam and malware domains. Never mind the whole more specific TLD just felt and acted like some walled garden shit your inlaws installed with a compuserve cd in the 90's, litterally 15 years late to the party

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Greed

      Why was it interesting? What possible value do gTLDs have?

      Users don't care. Most of them know little or nothing about the domain-registry system, and most find things by typing keywords into browser search bars. Few people pay attention to the TLD in a link's anchor URL or in an email address.

      The new gTLDs never had any useful purpose, other than making ICANN money. They're like putting logos on the parts inside household appliances: advertising in a space most people never look at, and most of the ones who do will not be impressed.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Greed

        Exactly. Most (for UK and for equivalent elsewhere) users consider the internet to==.com, or .co.uk at a pinch..

        They might have to deal with a .gov.uk .org.uk or .edu.uk from time to time, but treat these as special cases if they even notice and don't just get to them via a link.

        But the internet is all one big .com to most people.

  6. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    .com, .org, .gov, .edu

    Can't really see a need for much more than that, except perhaps for country suffixes - often it's nice to see where a company thinks it lives.

    1. stiine Silver badge

      Re: .com, .org, .gov, .edu

      I disagree. I think the original 4 should sunet in 2030 but I don't have any idea how we could make that happen in any reasonable way...

      1. ThatOne Silver badge

        Re: .com, .org, .gov, .edu

        > the original 4 should sunet in 2030

        You normally sunset something that's no longer needed, and I surely missed what has rendered (for instance) ".gov" obsolete.

        Not to mention the issue of change. Imagine 99% of the planet's email addresses having to change from "@MyBank.com" to "@MyBank.longsuspiciousdomain". Scammers worldwide would be thrilled, but they would be about the only ones.

        And why change? Because some people hope to make a quick buck? Not a strong enough reason, IMHO.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: .com, .org, .gov, .edu

          I suspect the reasoning might be that there is no eg. One World Government, so .gov conveys less meaning than .gov.us.

          1. Dave559 Silver badge

            Re: .com, .org, .gov, .edu

            "I suspect the reasoning might be that there is no eg. One World Government, so .gov conveys less meaning than .gov.us."

            There is .int which gets used by a few multi-national / world-wide organisations, such as the UN (https://www.un.int/), and some others, perhaps most importantly the very mysterious, all-powerful, and definitely very dark glasses wearing The Phone Company (http://www.tpc.int/, sadly, no longer online).

            [Oddly, the HTML parser seemed to dislike these web links for some reason, and my post previewed including the raw HTML tags(?)]

        2. PhoenixKebab

          Re: .com, .org, .gov, .edu

          Because they don't sit under a country TLDs, those are all technically world-wide (why stop there?) TLDs.

          Every one of which is overseen by an organisation in the USA. So are they global or not?

          They are an inconsistency in the naming scheme.

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: .com, .org, .gov, .edu

            And .gov and .edu are used as U.S. specific, and have always been, so nobody's very surprised. .com and .org, while U.S. administered, are really used internationally. After all, if you have an open source project website which isn't a personal project, it almost always ends in .org. A few .io or .info, but still primarily .org. If those were limited to U.S. use, I'd agree with you. They're not, and there's also no easy place to relocate them.

          2. Yes Me Silver badge
            Headmaster

            Re: .com, .org, .gov, .edu

            "Every one of which is overseen by an organisation in the USA. So are they global or not?"

            Firstly, people seem to forget .mil, .int and .net

            Then, .mil and .gov are both reserved for US government purposes and really should be .mil.us and .gov.us, but they aren't, for historical reasons & backwards-compatibility.

            .edu is a special case. It used to be worldwide but was clawed back to the US in 2001, since every other country turned out to prefer registering educational institutions in their own country code. However, it still contains some legacy names like toronto.edu, so it is not US-only.

            .com, .org, .net and .int are available for worldwide registrations. So yes, they are global. The registries have to be somewhere, so three of them are in the US and one in Switzerland.

            "They are an inconsistency in the naming scheme."

            It was once put to me that just as the UK doesn't put "UK" on its postage stamps because we invented postage stamps, the US doesn't need to put .us on its DNS names because it invented the DNS. Yes, there's an inconsistency for historical reasons, but so what?

            1. waqar88n

              Re: .com, .org, .gov, .edu

              yeah you are right man!

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: .com, .org, .gov, .edu

          Not to mention the non-profits, including little things like kernel.org, The universities that helped found the public internet, and almost every piece of technical documentation in the post internet era.

          Sunsetting TLDs is not just a bad idea, it verges on a terrorist threat.

          Allowing the registries to withdraw them is problem in its own right, at least the ones who have more then defensive registrations on them. If this wasn't another ICANN swindle, they would have been vetting the registries to ensure they had a viable and sustainable business footing that could ensure a 5-10 year stable horizon to get these up an running.

          Sadly, it was always an ICANN swindle, in the hopes of screwing both the Registrars into overpaying for worthless TLDs that cost the operator more then they could recover in registrations, and in the delusional hope that defensive registrations would force everyone to place multiple registrations for every single site or domain.

          ICANN needs to be broken up, and the technical team and functions permanently separated from the toxic business entity it represents. The new technical body then needs to actually be charted to be accountable to stakeholders other then their own shady management.

    2. Simon Rockman

      Re: .com, .org, .gov, .edu

      I bought some lamps from lights.co.uk only to find that they were a German company, shipping from Germany with all the ensuing supply chain problems. So when customer service was diabolical it took weeks for them to fix problems. Then one arrived broken and again the replacement had to be shipped from Germany. I would not have bought them from a German website. I was furious. Indeed, incandescent.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: .com, .org, .gov, .edu

        Well, in the new post-Brexit world of having to have a presence in the EU to be allowed a .eu address, maybe Nominet, once under new management, can change the T&Cs for .co.uk too.

      2. tiggity Silver badge

        Re: .com, .org, .gov, .edu

        A few lighting companies like that, I deal with a Dutch one a lot (at least lamps are dispatched from the Netherlands, though not ordered anything this year as waiting for customs situation to resolve in terms of delays and extra costs as depends if Brexit price changes make ordering from them still viable)

        lampandlight.co.uk

        This was hassle free web site up to end of Dec 2020 & hoping Brexit has not screwed things up (efficient, helpful, support staff had superb English skills)

    3. aqk
      Mushroom

      Re: .com, .org, .gov, .edu, .mil

      Hey- don't forget .mil

  7. 0laf Silver badge
    Flame

    Bottom feeders

    Wasn't the entire business case for these something along the lines of - "You've bought .com, .org, and .net; now you should really buy up the 50 other shitty versions of your domain coz if you don't someone else will and they'll put nasty things on it!".

    1. ThatOne Silver badge

      Re: Bottom feeders

      The business case was "new! cool! shiny!" in flashy big letters...

      Let's say I'm a huge online video warehouse, currently doing business as "YouVideo.com". What business advantage would switching to "YouVideo.video" bring me, besides a vague "Cool, their TLD describes what they do!" reaction among those of less than 10 years of (mental) age? None...

      1. katrinab Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: Bottom feeders

        Especially when normal people (ie people who don't read El Reg) just type "YouVideo", and either select the link from autocomplete or from the Google search results.

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Bottom feeders

          Exactly. Punters do not care about TLDs. Not a whit. Not the original gTLDs, not the new gTLDs, and for the most part, not the ccTLDs.

          From the article:

          It’s not hard to imagine how, in the era podcasts and streaming music, that the .audio internet registry could not be turn into a hugely profitable business given the right focus, effort and marketing.

          I think it's quite hard to imagine anyone bothering to maintain a .audio domain name for long, and not sorely regretting purchasing one in the first place. How many potential audience members does anyone really think would say "oh, this URL ends in .audio, so it's definitely worth my time"? Or "I wish I could find that podcast1! If only it had a name that ended in .audio, because that would definitely make it easier to locate!".

          There is no real use case here to sustain the novelty-gTLD business. It was always a scam and nothing more. ICANN sold a product with no real use-value to a bunch of speculators, who in turn tried to sell it on to smaller speculators and fools.

          1Ugh. Such a stupid portmanteau.

  8. Paul Herber Silver badge

    I want

    .meh

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I want

      I want .tits for my ornithological interests.

      1. DJV Silver badge

        Re: .tits

        You'd probably end up in a bidding war with The Sun newspaper*.

        * And when I say "newspaper" I mean that in the loosest sense in that it is made of paper and, once in a while, may have the occasional bit of proper news in it.

        1. katrinab Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: .tits

          Would they go for news.tits; or tits.news?

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: .tits

            Both, to cover all bases. Although admittedly The Sun is not really known for covering bases.

          2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

            Re: .tits

            tits.not.news would not work, tits.spam is more accurate.

      2. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker Silver badge
        IT Angle

        Re: I want

        Birds? More like quantum computing: trinary (3-state) bits. A much better excuse.

    2. ThatOne Silver badge

      Re: I want

      > I want .meh

      You're kidding? It already makes up over 60% of internet!

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: I want

        Great!

        1. Buy .meh

        2. Something, something, something with 60% of t'internet

        3. Profit!!!!

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: I want

          Sir,

          I am a tech venture capitalist, and I would like to give you a great deal of my someone else's money.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I want

      .gameeee ... No, not .gayme ... but maybe that might be good?

      All this TDL stuff these days is just junk companies trying to make money, I'm OK with that but not if you are doing is just selling junky shite.

  9. Big_Boomer Silver badge
    Boffin

    I've never understood why TLDs are handled the way they are. The whole "level" thing is just a mess and only exists because of history and tradition. It's just an address. All that is needed is to verify that the full address is not already in use, and then add an entry to DNS for it at some point so that the address points at the correct IP address. Yes, I know it's more complex behind the scenes, but only because we have made it complex. The actual process itself is pretty simple. There seems to be so many now trying to cash in on all these TLDs when there is very little actual substance behind them. As an example I'd pay to register @big.boomer but I'm not interested in managing/maintaining all of .boomer and the chances of anyone else doing it is equally minimal, so why shouldn't all registrars be able to register ANY unused domain? Yes, I know I'm a dreamer, but someone has to do it. :-)

    1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      > As an example I'd pay to register @big.boomer but I'm not interested in managing/maintaining all of .boomer and the chances of anyone else doing it is equally minimal, so why shouldn't all registrars be able to register ANY unused domain?

      Where would the GLUEs for big.boomer get published to? In your scheme, There's no longer a single registrar for .boomer, so there are presumably no longer a single set of authoritatives for the .boomer zone.

      Unless you're suggesting that it all gets centralised (so ICANN run the lot). The problem you've got there is you've just moved the cost elsewhere (and, unluckily, to a more inefficient/inept organisation to boot).

      You'd likely need less overall hardware, but that's not necessarily a good thing - it comes with the risk that ICANN reduce redundancy too far (to save costs) on their newly created central points of failure, and then all zones are affected.

      The way that DNS is set up is unrelated to the issue of gTLDs. The real issue is hinted at elsewhere in your post

      > There seems to be so many now trying to cash in on all these TLDs

      gTLDs were a cash grab from the start - just look at what ICANN is charging yearly for each gTLD

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        gTLDs were a cash grab from the start - just look at what ICANN is charging yearly for each gTLD

        Yup. And speculators who figured they could then flog 'golden' domain names like s.hiv to custom knifemakers who included drones & mules in their delivery options. It's amusing to watch YT ads from Squarespace that show domain name price dropping as the length increases. Makes no difference to the underlying cost, but a lot of difference to a registrar's gross margin.

        So I wonder how much it'd cost me to get tiny.violin?

    2. short

      > why shouldn't all registrars be able to register ANY unused domain?

      Super. I look forward to .c0m , .conn and a thousand subtly accented and unicode horrors.

    3. doublelayer Silver badge

      "I've never understood why TLDs are handled the way they are."

      To make it easy to determine what kind of site you're about to deal with. With the initial structure, you could determine what country they chose to attach themselves to. Sometimes, this was validated (Australia, China, Saudi Arabia). Sometimes not, but there was still an ostensible reason for doing so. And there were special zones for certain types of validated domains. .edu means an accredited institution of higher learning in the U.S. .ac.uk means the same for the UK. And pretty much every country has one of those. Which helps clarify that it's a real school and not someone making it up. That's why we have a tree structure.

      "The whole "level" thing is just a mess and only exists because of history and tradition."

      On what basis? Name exhaustion? If that's your complaint, and I have no clue whether it is, that's a little convenient since I can found a company with a name without having to purchase a hundred similar addresses. Sure, I might have to modify my name to get an address that someone's not sitting on, but if they're an actual place, that prevents trademark clashes. We can deal with those who are not by changing the rules on domain parking or resale, but not by making a couple hundred new TLDs and tossing them out.

      "It's just an address. All that is needed is to verify that the full address is not already in use, and then add an entry to DNS for it at some point so that the address points at the correct IP address."

      And to ensure that people can't easily abuse it. For that reason, I own any subdomains of my domains and you can't have them. And we don't operate certain TLDs that could cause problems (ICANN specifically banned anyone trying to reserve .home and .local, for example). And to ensure there's a dispute resolution process and a method of cancelling a domain used to commit crimes.

      "Yes, I know it's more complex behind the scenes, but only because we have made it complex."

      Actually, the technical process of DNS servers isn't all that complex. It takes a lot of hardware because we want reliability, but you can explain it to a nontechnical person in ten minutes.

      "As an example I'd pay to register @big.boomer but I'm not interested in managing/maintaining all of .boomer and the chances of anyone else doing it is equally minimal, so why shouldn't all registrars be able to register ANY unused domain?"

      [Shudder] Because your desire for that domain isn't enough to justify adding another path to the tree. If you want to, or a registry thinks there's a sufficient interest, they can apply for it and get it. It costs $185K. If they didn't do that, then people would reserve every string out there in the hope that people will buy up domains to avoid scammers misusing them. You wouldn't necessarily get the domain you wanted, because some registry you'd never heard of would have already registered TLDs of every word in the dictionary. If I had my way, they wouldn't even let you apply. New TLDs would be assigned if a large group of disparate people and organizations saw a need and requested it. Otherwise, they can petition their national registries for a local one or use existing TLDs.

  10. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Fire sale over

    "It’s hard not to see the sale as a sign that the dream of a vast new market in new internet addresses is officially dead."

    That's great news. All the proliferation of top level domains did was pander to the self esteem of registrants, make the originally logical and predictable domain name structure incoherent, and incomprehensible and generate loads of dosh for the registries.

    The original logical structure - a small number of understandable and predictably parsable trees became a massive disorganised plain of scrub woodland with no consistent way to navigate it.

  11. Christoph

    Good luck trying to type your email address based on one of these TLDs into a site that validates the address and hasn't bothered to add all the .spam variations to its validation list.

  12. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Just floating this as a thought

    (I have no qualification, just a thought).

    But wouldn't a generic tld (other than very specific ones such as a .porn if that exists) be a bit of a no no for marketing people?

    They need to differentiate their brand, so unless they can afford to own and keep, say .flowers for themselves they're going to feel happier with a generic [company-name].com address. Indeed it would probably cause confusion with customers. Bunch-of-daffs.flowers is not particularly different from bouquet-of-roses.flowers etc etc. They're all going to be read by the punters something-or-other.flowers. Especially if there was any significant number of companies wanting a 'flowers tld. How many variations could there be that still utilised the .flowers bit?

  13. Howard Sway
    Facepalm

    .lol: start bid $450,000

    It seems that .lol is the most valuable How many organisations are going to have to purchase this domain to prevent massively inappropriate cybersquatting?

    funeraldirectors.lol

    victimsupport.lol

    yourbusinessdomainhere.lol

    This is ridiculous. What'll be next? .omg? .jfc? .fu?

  14. Yes Me Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Optional

    "And yet, it still seems cheap for a fundamental piece of the internet’s landscape."

    No DNS namespace is "fundamental" in any way whatever. There isn't the slightest reason why a hosting service needs or will benefit from $NAME.hosting as opposed to $NAME.net, or $NAME.com.tv or whatever the heck you want. The whole gTLD business is basically a scam, a con, a ripoff, and utterly unnecessary. It's optional and the Internet would run perfectly well without it.

    1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: Optional

      I take it you also refuse to use subdirectories and dump everything on your desktop.

      The whole point of a hierarchical naming structure is that very hierarchical-ness of it.

  15. MOH

    Great sales pitch

    Every TLD listed has a "How much are similar domains worth?" bit - which just gives the estimated value of the corresponding .com (e.g. .guitars is compared against guitars.com).

    Surely this just underlines the fact that the .com is far more valuable than the vanity TLD?

    And a far more accurate measure of value would be how moany domains are there for the TLD x price per domain.

    So .country has 1000+ domains @ $29 so you're expected to bid $300,000 for something currently taking in $29,000/year.

    While country.com alone is worth $450,000

    There's a reason these things are being auctioned. You'd be better off buying Bitcoin. Or Gamestop

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